Waqaa (pronounced wok'-ah) to all those on the rave net. Waqaa, in case you're wondering, is hello in my native language Yupik and Yupik is the language of the central Eskimos of Alaska. I am one of those Eskimos and I am currently attending school at Loyola University of Chicago. My purpose of this posting is to let everyone know of my existence in hopes to make a lot of new friends through the system and also to share with you my experience (spiritual) with raving.
Back in my hometown, Bethel, Alaska, which is located 400 miles directly west of Anchorage, I held very strong ties to my culture. The only part of my culture (also a very big part) that I lack of is the ability to speak my language fluently. Other than that I hunt, fish, dance, and take part in many other cultural events.
Eskimo dancing is the greatest event that I have ever gotten into. I take so much pride in dancing to songs that my grandparents have danced and sang, and their grandparents, and their grandparents before them. Not only is it the pride, but the extreme spiritual feeling I receive from it. Hearing the drumbeats and the voices of the elders singing in unison would bring me to such a euphoric state that I could not be taken down by anything. At dance practice while everyone would take a break from dancing, I'd remain kneeling in anticipation, with my dance fans in my hand, for the next song to begin. At dance festivals when a member of the audience yelled, "pumyaa" (pronounced bum-e-yaw and meaning encore) I would gladly repeat the dance with all the energy I had left, to please the audience, myself, and my people. I have so much love and spiritual closeness to Eskimo dancing, however, since I've been here, I've not been able to take part in it. In fact, the last time I was in Alaska was in June '95, and the next time I'll be back will be in May '96, so I've been completely taken away from all parts of my culture.
While trying to find something exciting and fun to do at Loyola, I failed at it when going to frat parties only to see the "high and mighty" fraternity brothers slam beers down as fast as they could. I then started going to parties at De Paul where they had a lot of dancing to hip-hop, old skool, and reggae, but as soon as the house music came on, I'd find myself meandering off to the sides and standing against the wall, because I couldn't quite do all the "name" dance moves (you know what I mean by "name": "running man", "Roger Rabbit", "Butterfly", "Tootsie Roll"). Finally, the opportunity arose for me to attend a rave. My friends told me not to expect much because it was free and on extremely short notice, but that didn't phase me one bit.
The feeling was strange. I didn't know what it was, because it had been such a long time since I felt that same way, and it was only while I was eskimo dancing that I felt it. When looking on the floor at all the other people, I noticed that none of them were doing those "name" dance moves and also that everybody was dancing by themselves, facing towards the source of the music. After sitting against the wall for a few minutes, I closed my eyes and started moving my head, much like I do when I'm about to Eskimo dance. Then the beat from the music was taken away. I opened my eyes and looked on the dance floor noticing that the people dancing appeared to be gliding on the floor. Their movements were so smooth; once again much like Eskimo dancing. I stood up and walked over to the dance floor in the attempts to emulate the movements of everyone else, and only a few seconds after I started dancing did the beat drop back in and when it came back in, it hit me H-A-R-D! By hard I mean that the music hypnotized me. My attempts to dance like those surrounding me were no more. I wasn't able to think, or try to choreograph my movements. Everything that came out of my body, came out because I experienced the same feeling that all of you (or at least most of you) feel when you go to raves; that spiritual feeling received by the entire aura around you.
I immediately told my oldest brother about it and he replied saying that he felt the exact same way, when he went to his first party. What is it about raves that is so spiritual. . . here's my theory: In the U.S. are many types of people of different ethnic backgrounds, however, not all of these people take part in their own culture, or have much knowledge on it. How can they? If your history comes from Germany, France, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, or where ever, but neither you, your parents, or grandparents were born their, then your culture really is American. And by being an American we have the right to create anything we wish to be included in our culture; after all, this country really had no culture (at least to the Europeans, it didn't, who took the land from the natives who lived here before, but I don't want to get into that now) and so we must build our own. Raving is part of the American culture, much like Eskimo dancing is part of my native culture. It is something that unites people, and brings them to a higher level of mind-spirituality. It is something that I'm glad I found while here in Chicago. I feel complete now because I have found the other half of me, the African-American, or should I just say American half (My father is Eskimo my mother is African American)? I have a long journey through life, and when I lived in Alaska I promised to myself and my people, that I will be dancing until the day that I die. Now, I can tell all of you, that I'll be raving for a long time (not until I die; I probably won't be as energetic, but certainly for a large portion of my life).
I'm glad to have announced this to all of you, and I want you all to realize that raving has touched a great many of people, including Eskimos. I'm looking forward to hearing from many of you. Also, if you have any questions about Eskimos (no I don't live in an igloo, and I've never seen one, and the Alaska Natives never lived in them) or Alaska in general, then you're more than welcome to ask me and I'll try to answer them as well as I possibly can. Quyana Caknek!
Torin "Seal" Kuiggpak Jacobs